Houston High School’s tennis team got its first win of the 2023 season in a home match on Tuesday, downing county rival Licking 8-1.

The Tigers lost only 1 game in the top three singles matches, as sophomore Connor McKinney won the No. 1 match 8-0, junior Kolten Gayer won 8-0 in the No. 2 match and freshman Maggie Wolfe prevailed 8-1 in the No. 3 match. 

A pair of HHS freshmen posted come-from-behind victories in fourth and fifth singles, as Halie Hamilton started slow and was down 4-1 before rallying back to win the No. 4 match 8-4. 

“She showed some real grit and focus,” said head coach Josh McKinney. 

In No. 5 singles, Riley Wilson overcame a huge 5-2 deficit to win 8-6. 

HHS freshman Riley Wilson posted a come-from-behind victory in the No. 5 singles match Tuesday against Licking.

“She showed some real determination and guts,” coach McKinney said.

Then in sixth singles, freshman Allie Campbell played a good match and won 8-3.

“I was really proud of our No. 4, 5 and 6 players tonight,” coach McKinney said, “as they showed the ability to not get down on themselves and stick with a plan to come back and win these matches.” 

The Tigers lost their regular No. 2 singles player and half of their No. 2 doubles duo – junior Waylon Collins – to a knee injury. He’s expected to miss the remainder of the season.

“He was missing in our lineup,” coach Josh McKinney, “but I was proud how the team stepped up and played well.”

With Collins sidelined, coach McKinney had to mix-and-match and change the team’s doubles game plan and lineups. 

Things worked out well, as Connor McKinney and Wolfe played well together and won the No. 1 match, 8-1, while Gayer and Hamilton gelled nicely and posted an 8-0 shutout. Houston’s only loss came in No. 3 doubles, as Wilson and Campbell played hard but fell 8-5. 

In Tuesday’s competition against Licking, Houston freshman Maggie Wolfe won the No. 3 singles match and teamed up with Connor McKinney to win the No. 1 doubles match.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply